William Byrd Park
William Byrd Park (or simply Byrd Park), is a popular 287-acre public park located in Richmond, Virginia. The park's facilities include open parkland, shelters, 3 lakes with summer pedal-boat rides, a children's playground, tennis courts, baseball fields, and a vita exercise course with 1.3 miles of walking trails. It also boasts an outdoor amphitheater, Dogwood Dell, which is used for events such as the summer performing arts festival. The park, originally known as Reservoir Park, was constructed in one of Richmond's first streetcar suburbs. It was renamed after the founder of Richmond, Virginia—William Byrd II—in 1906.
Backstory and Context
The construction initiatives responsible for the character of the park are largely attributable to Chief Engineer Cutshaw. The pit he used to build the earthen berms for the city's waterworks project form what is now Fountain Lake, which was fed by a reservoir constructed in 1874. In 1881, a granite Victorian Gothic pump-house was built beside the James River and Kanawha Canal; water was mechanically pumped up to the 26-foot-deep reservoir. Fountain Lake, also called Boat Lake has historically been the site of concessions, concerts, and strolls along the walkway surrounding its perimeter. In 1925, a citizen's group donated a lighted fountain, which was placed in the center of the lake.
Today, Byrd Park is one of Richmond's most popular public parks. It encompasses 287 acres of land spread along both sides of the Boulevard and Blanton Avenue. Park facilities include 3 lakes (Shields, Swan, and Boat lakes), sports and exercise opportunities, a children's playground, the Barker Field Dog Park, Ha'Penny Stage, and the Dogwood Dell amphitheater. The stage and amphitheater hosts annual free summer concert and theatrical events. Historic monuments of interest on the park grounds include the Virginia War Memorial Carillion, built in 1932; the Christopher Columbus Monument, erected in 1922; and the Poplar Vale Cemetery. Additionally, visitors to Byrd Park can view the City's Fallen Police Officer Memorial.
"Byrd Park." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed December 26, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byrd_Park.
"Byrd Park." Richmondoutside.com. Accessed December 26, 2016. http://www.richmondoutside.com/destination/byrd-park/.
"National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: William Byrd Park." National Park Service. Last modified December 18, 2015. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/15001044.pdf\.
"William Byrd II." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed December 26, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Byrd_II.